Top 5... - April 28, 2017

Why Him? (and five other films about meeting the in-laws)
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Why Him? (and five other films about meeting the in-laws)

Whether you're a parent who's about to meet your daughter's boyfriend for the first time, or you're dating someone new and about to be introduced to their folks for the first time, meeting your potential in-laws can often be a nerve-wracking experience. But where there's tension, there's the potential for comedy and that's exactly what director John Hamburg delivers in his new film, Why Him?

Hamburg has previous form on this subject: he's the writer behind Jay Roach's Meet the Parents and its two sequels, Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers, providing the screenplay for all three. Quite what has happened in Hamburg's personal life to cause him to return to the subject once again, we can only imagine, but here he takes the reins of a film starring Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch and Megan Mullally.

Cranston stars as Ned Fleming, patriarch of the Fleming family and father of Stephanie Fleming (Deutch), who reveals she has fallen in love with a young internet billionaire named Laird Mayhew (Franco) and wants the family to meet him. That's enough to fill most fathers with dread, but things get worse when Ned and Laird come face to face. Laird is doing his best to impress Stephanie's father and while the rest of the family slowly warm to him, Ned is deeply unimpressed and is determined to put a stop to the relationship.

It soon becomes fairly obvious however that Ned isn't going to get his way and his efforts to damage the relationship predictably end up backfiring, but the result is plenty of chuckles for the audience.

Alongside the main cast members there are also appearances for CSI's Tangie Ambrose, Red Band Society's Griffin Gluck and comedian-turned-actor Cedric the Entertainer, as well a cameo from from Kiss members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

You can find a trailer for Why Him? below, beneath that we've picked five other films worth watching if you enjoy a bit of in-law awkwardness...


 

Meet the Parents

Based on a script from Why Him? director John Hamburg, Jay Roach's comedy stars Ben Stiller in the role of hopeful husband-to-be Greg Focker and Robert De Niro as father-in-law from hell Jack Byrnes, a former CIA director who keeps a lie detector in his basement. All Greg wants is to ask Jack for his daughter's hand in marriage, but ends up on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

 

The Birdcage

Mike Nichols' 1996 comedy stars Robin Williams as Armand Goldman, the gay and flamboyant owner of a cabaret club in Miami Beach, which he runs with his partner and the club's star drag queen Albert (Nathan Lane). His son Val, played by Dan Futterman, is the product of Armand's one and only heterosexual fling and has been raised by Armand and Albert, but when Val announces his engagement to the daughter of a right-wing conservative Senator, Kevin Keeley (Gene Hackman), the Senator demands to met his parents and insists on paying them a visit. Knowing that Keeley will be horrified by their lifestyle, Val begs his parents to pretend to be a straight couple (with Albert in full drag) for the duration of the visit. Williams and Hackman have brilliant anti-chemistry in this film and it's very, very funny.

 

The In-Laws

This 1979 film from director Arthur Hiller stars Alan Arkin as Sheldon Kornpett, a Manhattan dentist whose daughter is 48 hours away from marrying the son of Vince Ricardo, a businessman with a dubious past (played superbly by Columbo star Peter Falk). As it turns out, Vince is a former CIA operative who was recently thrown out of the agency and manages to persuade Sheldon into helping him break into his own safe to retrieve a mysterious black bag, only to drag him into a caper that sees the pair shot at by a couple of hitmen and chased all over New York. Although a remake of the film was released in 2003 starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks, the original is still the best and well worth a watch.

 

Father of the Bride

This in-law encounter from 1991 stars Steve Martin as a man who is clearly having some issues getting to grips with the idea that his daughter Annie (Kimberley Williams) is a fully-grown adult, and when she announces that she is getting married to her boyfriend Bryan (George Newbern), his ensuing meltdown sees him chased by dogs, arrested in a supermarket and being fished out a swimming pool belonging to Bryan's parents. Steve Martin at his best.

 

Monsoon Wedding

Our final pick is a this comedy-drama from director Mira Nair and details the tension between two families in the run-up to an arranged marriage in India. With a stressed-out father, a bride harbouring a guilty secret and family members arriving from all corners of the globe, this is a touching and often hilarious depiction of weddings in Punjabi culture.

Why Him?
Why Him? John Hamburg

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